Italian School

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Italian School
15th century
Bust-Length Portrait of a Woman in Profile to the Left
Pen and brown ink on vellum.
2 5/16 x 1 7/8 inches (59 x 46 mm)
Purchased by J. Pierpont Morgan (1837-1913) in 1910.
I, 43c:1
Charles Fairfax Murray (1849-1919), London and Florence; from whom purchased through Galerie Alexandre Imbert, Rome, in 1909 by Pierpont Morgan (1837-1913), New York (no mark; see Lugt 1509); his son, J. P. Morgan, Jr. (1867-1943), New York.

Along with a corresponding drawing in the Morgan's collection, the present study was once considered to be the work of the goldsmith, sculptor, and medalist, Sperandio.1 In 1909, G.F Hill noted the correlation between Sperandio’s medals and two drawings traditionally attributed to Pisanello (by 1395-ca. 1455).2 This connection became the basis of a small, conjectural corpus of drawings ascribed to Sperandio, to which another sheet, now in the National Gallery of Art, Washington, was later added.3 Unlike these, the Morgan studies are drawn on vellum and depict caricatures with more distorted physiognomies that are seemingly unrelated to portrait medals.


  1. Morgan Library & Museum, New York, inv. I, 43c:2.
  2. Hill 1909, 24-25. One drawing is now in the British Museum, London, inv. 1936-10-10-16; the other is now in the Louvre, Paris, inv. RF 28919.
  3. National Gallery of Art, Washington, inv. 1973.37.1.a.

Acquired as Lombard School.

Associated names: 

Sperandio, da Mantova, approximately 1425-approximately 1495, Attributed to.
Murray, Charles Fairfax, 1849-1919, former owner.
Morgan, J. Pierpont (John Pierpont), 1837-1913, former owner.
Morgan, J. P. (John Pierpont), 1867-1943, former owner.

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